Arun Shourie: Warning note
The minister stressed the importance of agriculture as Indias key concern in the WTO negotiations, in particular food security and the livelihood security of the vast number of people dependent on agriculture.
Referring to the proposed special products of interest to developing countries, he said the selection of such products must be on the basis of self-declaration given that it was not possible to have multilaterally agreed criteria applicable across-the-board to all countries.
No IPO Policy In Selloff: Jaitley
New Delhi: Government on Wednesday said it had not decided to adopt a policy of issuing initial public offers (IPOs) instead of strategic sale of equity to privatise public sector units. However, it approved a disinvestment strategy including both IPOs and strategic sale as was appropriate depending on specific requirements in each case, commerce and industry minister Arun Jaitley said during question hour. PTI
There should also be reduction in trade distorting agricultural subsidies without the camouflage of shifting boxes and the key issue of non-tariff barriers which hindered exports from developing countries should be adequately addressed, he said.
Participating in the session on non-agricultural market access, he said that while India was in broad agreement with the Girard formula (which recognises the need for differentiation and suggests certain elements for developing modalities for the negotiations), there were several sensitive sectors which would need continued higher levels of protection.
He mentioned in particular the sensitivities of small-scale and cottage industries, agricultural products like natural rubber, jute and coir which had crept into the industrial goods during the Uruguay Round despite having all the characteristics of primary agriculture products and lastly the categories of industries which had not yet fully stabilised in the country.
In the session on development, Mr Shourie reiterated the importance of implementation of special and differential treatment issues and underlined the need to achieve some results in this area before Cancun, and preparing a clear roadmap for dealing with these issues beyond Cancun.